Appropriate company for horses

Make sure your horse or pony has appropriate company.

Things you should do

  • Horses are social animals they should not be housed alone in individual paddocks or pens, as this prevents the performance of social behaviour.
  • Horses should be allowed as much time as possible in paddocks interacting freely with other horses. Isolated horses may experience high levels of stress which can lead to abnormal behaviour.
  • Stabling should be designed with partitions which allow horses to see and interact with their neighbours, including allowing them to put their heads over stable doors. Horses which do not get on well with each other should not be stabled next to each other or put in the same paddock.
  • To minimise aggression, horses should be kept in the same groups each time they are let out into paddocks.
  • Where it's necessary to introduce new horses into groups, they should be carefully observed to ensure that they do not receive excessive aggression. Unfamiliar horses may squeal at, threaten, bite or kick each other when first introduced.
  • Sufficient space should be available to allow horses to get away from others and avoid being cornered. The whole group should be checked for signs of injury more frequently than normal.

Find out more about the needs of horses and ponies: Environment, Diet, Behaviour, Health and welfare.